Like most Catholic-schooled girls who grew up in the 1970s, I learned about sex (including where it was done, how it was done, to whom it was done and if, in fact, it was done) by reading several dog-eared Jacqueline Susann novels. My favorite was Valley of the Dolls, which I sneaked into my bedroom somewhere around 1974 when I was 12. The sex scenes were actually pretty tame compared to the ones in the Old Testament that I’d started to peruse on my own after an introduction in a world religions course. Neely O’Hara getting drunk on pills and dancing around naked by the pool while her presumably gay husband played with a Swedish model was nothing compared to that pillar of salt business. And have you read Song of Songs? Translate it into Spanish and you have a telenovela that would never make it past the censors at Telemundo.
The point is that no one bothered to teach me about the carnal side of life, and like my plaid-kilted sisters, I figured it out pretty much on my own. Of course, the fact that I figured the logistics out on my own did not mean I engaged in any on-the-job training. Billy Joel really was right.
And to me, that’s the way it should be. I know I’m in a minority these days, what with all of the necessary efforts to prepare young adolescents and teenagers for this overly sexualized society where kids start “dating” before they reach the double digits. It’s not like I’m blind to the importance of arming the young rapscallions with the information necessary to protect themselves from tragic mistakes (or deliberate screw-ups.)
But I draw the line when adults start treating children like petri dishes for their societal experiments in tolerance and political correctness. What I mean to say is that any parent, teacher or mature busybody who thinks that we need to, ahem, expose kids to the wonderful world of sexuality, gender and funky bathrooms at tender ages is a selfish boor, and a prurient creep to boot.
So, did I get your attention? Good. Let’s continue.
This past week, I was reading one of my favorite columnists, Howard Gensler of the Philadelphia Daily News, who wrote about a nascent attempt to lobby Disney to create a gay heroine. More specifically, Howard wrote about a young gay Latina who wanted the cartoon conglomerate to make Elsa, the white-haired cutie from Frozen, into a “lesbian princess.” She tweeted this winsome message, which was picked up by the Washington Post: “I hope Disney makes Elsa a lesbian princess imagine how iconic that would be.”
A lot of other people retweeted her message, which got a lot of positive feedback. And so, it begins.
This may not actually go anywhere, as Gensler mentioned on my Facebook page. It might just be one of those novel, quirky ideas that bubble up from the social media goo every few days and grab our attention, only to sink back into well-deserved oblivion, which is also spelled R-A-C-H-E-L D-O-L-E-Z-A-L.
But I’m not so optimistic that this really stupid idea will fade away. It has the same sort of feel to it as the crusade to make high school bathrooms gender-neutral, the push to allow girls to take girls to the prom, the inclusion of “Heather Has Two Mommies” on elementary school curriculums, the need to allow 10-year-old Geoffrey to wear a tutu to school on those days he identifies as Giselle.
You may be grinding your teeth at this point, or at least getting ready to let Polly tinkle all over my column (and most likely my photo). And I get it. We are now in that kindler, gentler society where anyone who ventures a politically incorrect suggestion about keeping gender and orientation discussions out of the sandbox is a bigot.
But if this is bigotry, I wear the badge quite proudly.
We should never allow pushy adults, the ones with an agenda who disingenuously hide it behind a veneer of caring for the kiddies, to inject inappropriate elements into the lives of children. We should never allow these narcissistic crusaders to use children to advance their personal causes, namely, the complete destruction of distinctions between male and female, straight and gay, chaste and chasing.
And now they’ve targeted Disney, or at least, one extremely savvy teen lesbian has. And, as these things always play out, she will be at the vanguard of other attempts, mostly by sympathetic adults, to push for Elsa to open the Stonewall Ice Cream Cafe in Arendelle, marry a lesbian barista and live happily ever after.
I know that there will be a slew of readers who believe that making young gay folk feel better about themselves is always a good thing. The problem is, little children do not naturally think about these things. They are mostly concerned with dessert and conning their aunts into taking them to Toys R Us, also known as Broke R U.
Adults are the ones thinking about these things. Adults file lawsuits against North Carolina bathroom laws. Adults change their gender and then pose naked to prove they’re women. Adults want to turn rainbows into square knots. Kids don’t care.
Neither, God help us, should Disney.
Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Readers may send her email at firstname.lastname@example.org.